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Virat Kohli reveals why Ashwin, Jadeja and Rahul were omitted against New Zealand

Even though Rahane has not done much wrong to be absent from the team, he is not the first preference opener when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are almost immovable.

Virat Kohli
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahead of the India-New Zealand series set to begin on Sunday, in Mumbai, India captain Virat Kohli defended the team’s decision to ‘rest’ off-spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, citing it as a decision made in order to relieve the workload of the bowlers and also create a stronger pool to choose from for the team management.

In the limited overs format, the Ashwin-Jadeja duo made way for wristies Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The new spin duo has found great success in their short stint so far and it is one of the primary reasons that has resulted in the absence of Ashwin and Jadeja for three consecutive series now. With world cricket now focusing more on adding leg-spinners and wrist-spinners to the groove, it was about time India too utilized their talent as they look to form a core team for the 2019 World Cup.

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“We need to find out best bowling combinations before the World Cup, we always had in mind to bring wrist spinners. We didn’t want to play both together but now it’s too tempting considering the way they have been playing. It’s also about rhythm and understanding the workload of the bowlers. Ashwin and Jadeja have been playing for the past 6-7 years. We also have to see how much we expose certain bowlers who play for us across formats,” Kohli said.

He was quick to add that the chopping and cutting has done no harm to the team’s understanding as all the players understand team dynamics, “Despite all the talk which is going around, everyone understands the team dynamics going ahead.”

Don’t want Rahul rolling down the Rahane road

Apart from the omission of Ashwin and Jadeja, the absence of one more player raised eyebrows. Kohli explained the decision behind dropping KL Rahul from the squad, saying the team wanted someone who could bat in the middle-order, and Dinesh Karthik fitted the bill perfectly.

KL Rahul had tried his hand at the No. 4 spot a few times but because it was tough to remodel his natural style of play to fit into the middle-order considering he has always opened the innings, India started to look at other options. While Rahane too is out of the question in the middle order now, as understood by Kohli’s words, Karthik will be up for experimentation.

“We look to give chances to players who have the ability to perform at this level. At the same time, we have to strike a right balance between youth and experience. DK has come in for KL, because we didn’t want a situation that happened with Jinx (Rahane). He was forced to bat in the middle-order, KL has usually opened for the state team while Karthik bats regularly in the middle-order,” Kohli explained, as reported by Cricket Next.

Also read: KL Rahul rolling down the Rahane road

Praise for Rahane

Even though Ajinkya Rahane has not done much wrong to be absent from the team, he is not the first preference opener when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are almost immovable. However, he praised Rahane for making the most of the limited opportunities at the top of the order.

“He has grabbed his opportunities as third opener, he has stood up and taken his chances. We can play only two openers and he understands the dynamics.” Kohli said.

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